WHEN YOU’RE LEGALLY BLIND YOU FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO RATHER THAN WHAT YOU CAN’T.
“Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.”- Gabrielle Bernstein.
Rachael Leahcar has used hearing as the dominant sense as a result of her vision impairment. She was naturally drawn to her passion for music at an early age. With her magical voice and great performance, she became an overnight sensation on the first season of The Voice Australia (2012). The show smashed Australian television records when 4.1 million people tuned in to watch her Blind Audition. After finishing in third place on The Voice Australia and she attracted a huge fan following and signed a record deal with Universal Music Australia. She has recorded six albums including her latest album, Shadows. Her debut album Shooting Star climbed all the way to Number 5 on the ARIA Albums chart.
Set to embark on her first national tour The Shadows Tour, Inspiration Matters caught up with Rachael to find out more about her love of music and her inspirational journey so far. Check out the interview below.
Can you tell us about your journey as a singer? What was the first song you sang in a live performance?
I’ve always loved singing as far as I can remember. Because of my vision impairment, I have used my hearing as the dominant sense so was drawn to music at an early age. I took every opportunity I was given to sing, whether it was in choir in school or in front of family and friends. My first performance on a stage in front of an audience was when I was 7 years and sang Over the Rainbow with the school choir. It’s still one of my favourite songs to sing today. From then, I performed in competitions and charity events, then started performing professionally at 15 after returning from a trip to Italy to sing on television over there. I started singing for weddings, Italian festivals and other functions. Then after The Voice Australia in 2012, I decided to make it a full time career so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last five years.
How many music albums have you done so far? Which album is closest to your heart and why?
With the release of my latest album, Shadows, it brings the total albums to six. Each album is special to me in its own way because they each show a part of my musical development journey. I would have to say Shadows is the closest to my heart personally because I wrote the majority of the songs and produced half of them completely on my own, something I’ve never done before.
Can you tell us about your experience during the first season of The Voice Australia? What was the best compliment you got so far?
It was an absolute rollercoaster! But I loved every minute. The whole time I was learning; about music and about myself. I also met some incredible people and musicians that continue to inspire me today. Plus, I got to perform every week to millions of people – something money just can’t buy. I think the best compliment I received was that I was like a “shooting star” on stage. I was so flattered, I wrote a song about it and seeing my coach as the shooting star instead!
What are the different types of genres that you sing? Which one is your favourite and why?
I have never liked to put myself under a category because I always believe a good song is a good song, regardless of the genre. I am drawn more to classic styles and my song writing reflects pop, rock and country. It depends what mood I’m in though!
Who is your favourite singer? Did you ever sing his/her song in your performance?
My favourite singer of all time is Eva Cassidy. She has the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard and the emotion is palpable. Unfortunately, she passed away before she was known worldwide but she still has a huge impact today. She sang mostly covers and altered them to suit her style. I once mixed her version of Over the Rainbow with Judy Garland’s to make my own (in the Battle Round of The Voice), and sang Eva’s version of Songbird for an aisle song at a wedding.
How do you define success? What different ingredients are must for achieving success?
This is a tough one! Success is so different for every person. For me personally, happiness equals success. I think the best ingredients for this are to be true to yourself and your desires and passions in life. Pair this with determination, a good work ethic and patience and it will lead to success. This is what I’ve always tried to do and I’m happy with that.
What are your other hobbies?
Many people might be surprised to hear I love ice skating! The contrast between the ice and people makes it easier to navigate than people think. I also love swimming and going to concerts/theatre.
What is your favourite place to visit and why?
My favourite place isn’t exactly a physical location. I often describe my experience in music as a “different world”. I might be standing in the same spot but when I sing or connect to music, it becomes my happy place. So my favourite place to visit is the land of music!
How can music play an important role in the lives of special needs children?
Music is something we can all connect to and be included in, no matter what your level of ability is. Music doesn’t discriminate and that’s why it’s so important. We need more things in the world that bring us together and music is one of them. With my disability, it resonated with me because it was something I could do, rather than focusing on what I couldn’t. I felt like I had a place in the world and could give something useful, while expressing all my emotions.
Any special message for our community?
I have found happiness in doing something I love. If you have trouble fitting in, find something you are passionate about, and you’ll find everything fits in around you.
Rachael Leahcar The Shadows Tour plays at Riverside Theatres Sunday 12 November at 7:30pm
Originally published by Inspiration Matters
Inspiration Matters focuses on inspiration, creativity and expression for all special needs community. Their aim is to boost the confidence of the special needs community through creativity. This community aims to inspire kids, parents and everyone through a collection of motivating interviews and creative works.